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Management and Diversity Understanding Diversity In order for management to make diversity work managers must first understand the definition of diversity Most simply explained diversity encompasses all of the ways in which individuals are both similar and different According to Lee Gardenswartz Diversity involves variations in factors we control as well as those over which we have no choice These factors give us areas of commonality through which we can connect with others and aspects of difference from which we can learn 24 These same factors also represent areas of trouble where conflict may develop Today cultural diversity is a business reality The ability to build bridges between people from different countries with different ethnic backgrounds is as important as any other business function Working in a culturally and ethically diverse organization does not mean eliminating differences in styles and approach but celebrating those differences and revealing the many strengths that diversity brings to an organization Henderson 229 There is a multitude of ways in which humans are both alike and different Some of these differences have an impressive effect on our opportunities and experiences while others have relatively little impact at all Diversity can be seen as four concentric circles at the center of which is personality Gardenswartz 24 Personality is a distinctive aspect that gives each person his or her own particular style This core aspect pierces all other layers Beyond the central core of personality are the six internal dimensions of diversity These are aspects over which people have little or no control They include gender age sexual orientation ethnicity physical ability and race In addition to internal dimensions external influences such as social factors and life experiences also have an impact on how people are treated at work Some examples of these external influences include where an individual grew up or lives now whether they are married or have children how their religious affiliation guides them and
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